Dutch woman Marion Pritchard, who as a student saved dozens of Jews during the Holocaust, died Dec. 11 at the age of 96 in Washington, D.C.
Pritchard died of arteriosclerosis, her family said, The Washington Post reported.
Pritchard was 19 and then-Miss van Binsbergen when the Germans invaded the Netherlands in 1940. When she saw the Nazis emptying a home for Jewish children, she knew she had to do something to help, a moral imperative instilled in Pritchard by her parents, the Post said.
“All of a sudden you see little kids picked up by their pigtails or by a leg and thrown over the side of a truck,” Pritchard said in "Voices From the Holocaust," the Post reported.
When two women tried to stop the soldiers, they were put in the truck with the children as well, she said.
Pritchard is said to have helped around 150 people escape the Nazis, many of them children. According to the Post, she obtained false ID documents, hid some in her home, and fed and clothed others. She credits assistance from friends and neighbors as well as other resistance members, telling others that most times one person couldn’t single-handedly save another’s life during the Holocaust.
In one case, a Dutch policeman raided her home and discovered a family she was hiding, but she shot the officer before he could report them and saved the family, according to The Jerusalem Post. She also performed several “missions of disgrace” — claiming to be the mother of a Jewish baby out of wedlock — during the wartime years.
After the war ended, Pritchard worked at United Nations displaced persons camps, where she met and married her husband, U.S. Army officer Anton Pritchard. They later moved to the United States.
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